Indie publisher CLOSE TO THE BONE has made a handfull of their eBooks available for ONLY 99c/99p.
Indie publisher CLOSE TO THE BONE has made a handfull of their eBooks available for ONLY 99c/99p.
Edited by Paul D. Brazill and Luca Veste. Introduction by Maxim Jakubowski.
The Line Up:
1. Two Fingers of Noir by Alan Griffiths
2. Eat Shit by Tony Black
3. Baby Face And Irn Bru by Allan Guthrie
4. Pretty Hot T’Ing by Adrian Magson
5. Black Betty by Sheila Quigley
6. Payback: With Interest by Matt Hilton
7. Looking for Jamie by Iain Rowan
8. Stones in Me Pocket by Nigel Bird
9. The Catch and The Fall by Luke Block
10. A Long Time Coming by Paul Grzegorzek
11. Loose Ends by Gary Dobbs
12. Graduation Day by Malcolm Holt
13. Cry Baby by Victoria Watson
14. The Savage World of Men by Richard Godwin
15. Hard Boiled Poem (a mystery) by Alan Savage
16. A Dirty Job by Sue Harding
17. Stay Free by Nick Quantrill
18. The Best Days of My Life by Steven Porter
19. Hanging Stanley by Jason Michel
20. The Wrong Place to Die by Nick Triplow
21. Coffin Boy by Nick Mott
22. Meat Is Murder by Colin Graham
23. Adult Education by Graham Smith
24. A Public Service by Col Bury
25. Hero by Pete Sortwell
26. Snapshots by Paul D Brazill
27. Smoked by Luca Veste
28. Geraldine by Andy Rivers
29. A Minimum of Reason by Nick Boldock
30. Dope on a Rope by Darren Sant
31. A Speck of Dust by David Barber
32. Hard Times by Ian Ayris
33. Never Ending by McDroll
34. Imagining by Ben Cheetham
35. Escalator by Jim Hilton
36. Faces by Frank Duffy
37. A Day In The Death Of Stafford Plank by Stuart Ayris
38. The Plebitarian by Danny Hogan
39. King Edward by Gerard Brennan
40. This Is Glasgow by Steven Miscandlon
41. Brit Grit by Charlie Wade
42. Five Bags Of Billy by Charlie Williams
43. It Could Be You by Julie Morrigan
44. No Shortcuts by Howard Linskey
45. The Great Pretender by Ray Banks
45 British writers, 45 short stories. All coming together to produce an anthology, benefiting two charities…
“The BRIT GRIT mob is coming to kick down your door with hobnailed boots. Kitchen-sink noir; petty-thief-louts; lives of quiet desperation; sharp, blood-stained slices of life; booze-sodden brawls from the bottom of the barrel and comedy that’s as black as it’s bitter—this is TRUE BRIT GRIT!”
Throughout the years countless wordsmiths have produced their own story collections, but the book you are now holding is a love letter to the great anthologies of yesteryear, assembling stories by a variety of talents, packaged neatly and often connected by a singular theme.
One of the best pieces of advice that anyone gave me at that time, came from a Moldovan hooker.
London, the underbelly of the city like every metropolitan moral sewer across the over-populated globe, heaves with sexual hypocrisy and the status seeking disease. It is a hot summer sky washed clean by the endless rain that falls in this aging capital. Here are the bright young things, rusting like disused metal at the road side. We’re in Assunta Madre, and Sandy is wearing ripped designer jeans and a pale cream top beneath a leather jacket. In her eight inch heels she looks like a model, which she is, although she is not happy this evening. She’s coked out of her head. I look at her across the table as she rubs her nose with the back of her hand. Her eyes have that glazed look they get when she is over the line, way over the line. It’s clear to me that she just doesn’t know where it is any more.
‘It’s a nice place,’ I say.
‘I lo-ove this restaurant,’ Sandy says, making eye contact across the table.
She mouths a party kiss. So Latina. Almost a parody of herself at times. I break some bread and dip it in oil, careful not to get any on my fingers, I want them clean tonight. It is filling out now, tables are getting packed. This fresh fish restaurant based on its Roman model, a good Italian restaurant. Sandy tells me how great the pasta is. She says she needs to eat something fat tonight.
‘Pasta, so good here, then tomorrow gym and back to my diet,’ she says.
‘I think I’ll have some wine.’
I nod. I look at her and see derangement climb inside her skull like mercury in a broken thermometer. Girl made of crystal. With her great bone structure and her figure, she is making the women jealous. I can hear them talk behind me, tongues wagging, coated in venom. She is beautiful, green eyes, golden hair, classic features great tits and arse, that goes without saying. She always reminds me she is a Latina when I mention her arse, the shape of it. She looks good in jeans, she looks good in anything. I think of her with her legs parted, beneath me on the bed at her flat in Kensington.
‘My flat mate is a cunt,’ she says.
‘It’s a nice area.’
‘It is bea-uutiful, I live here for years, just here,’ she says, waving a finger over her shoulder.
‘Do you want to move back?’
‘Ve-ery much, so bad, I tell you how much.’
I look out of the window at the tidy designer street, it looks like part of a stage set in a play about the lifestyles of the wealthy and affluent. The people in here are fucks. They are emotional scum. They ought to be taken out to a cold field and shot in the face with a pearl handled Glock beneath a summer moon.
Sandy looks upset as she dips bread in oil, her eyes downcast. I want to kiss her fuck mouth, I want to fuck her in the john and make the other diners listen to her moan. Relationships are complicated matters often oversimplified for reasons for reasons of vanity and fear. She calls me her boyfriend. It’s a tidy table. But there’s a mess in here.
When the waiter brings something from the kitchen we chew on squid bruschetta and she looks at me. I wonder how many men she has fucked, I think of how any women I have fucked and I know it doesn’t matter, it’s all part of the flesh game. There are whores in here. There are also emotional whores, loveless ones who trade in romance. This is the era of degeneracy, an entropic time with the echo of an orgasm in its burnished metal.
At a table behind me there are three guys, probably Italian. One has a belly and he leans across the starched white table cloth and mutters something to the darker, better looking of the three, who is getting some girth around his stomach also, eating from a bowl of pasta, sipping a large glass of ruby red wine as he does. The other guy is losing his hair.
Sandy keeps glancing in their direction. I wonder why, maybe they knew her, maybe she is becoming psychotic.
They looked at her when we walked in, they looked at me and I stared them down. I didn’t like them at first sight. Smug fucks. I am as lean and tight as a boxer, my muscles look as though they are made of iron. I am beautifully tanned, like gold, and I’d take them down with one shot any day of the week. They know it the fucking pricks. I look at another guy arrive. His chick has her back to me and she has a great figure, tight in a figure hugging dress. He is a fist rate cunt. Old, sixties, tinted glasses, pink complexion, Italian maybe, dressed in ostentatious clothes, waving his hand about looking important. His chick turns round, she is fucking ugly, the look of used meat beneath her makeup which is barely dry from a rushed exit job into the exciting night of food and men talking shit, the usual topics, money, sex, drugs, acquisitions. That is all they know, these soiled pieces of money. They are like loo paper.
Sandy darts a glance at the table behind me. She shakes her head in a mixture of disgust and disbelief. It looks like someone has snubbed her, I can tell by her eyes. She is there in memory, she is back there in the lifestyle she had before it came down to the powder. She wants them to notice her, that much is clear to me. The manager comes over to the old prick behind her and they chat. I want to hit one of them. I look at the three Italian guys.
‘Do you know those guys?’ I say.
‘No I don’t know,’ Sandy says, shaking her head, but I can tell that she is lying.
Sandy lies, she does it for a living, pricks like the men in here pay her to do it, they fear that unwelcome alien, reality. It is why they hire people, these pointless empty vacuums. There is more sewage in this place than a septic tank. Human excreta. All they know is boast and stab one another in the back with their steel cutlery. No loyalty. No culture. Just the show, just the money. Tonight I want to torch them. There is a women at the table behind me. She is looking at Sandy now, she is Oriental trash, clear lines of drug abuse in a hard face, no sex appeal there, just greed. Even her dress, expensive as it is, is tasteless. It makes her look like toilet trade with her long varnished nails. This is all about territory, pussy land run by doped and bitchy rent collectors. All the women have tattooed eyebrows. They are as fake as forged bank notes, as desperate as junkies. Their men trade stories while the women check each other out with avaricious glances. They hate one another. They need their men and the leashes around their fragile necks.
This is the addictive restaurant, the food lies as do the diners, their mouths open as in a sketch by Grosz. Their desires have been chained to powder, a white flash of pleasure lost in the indigo night that sets outside the immaculate window in London this summer time. Sandy eats, she is hungry, she is purer in her corruption than these liars who flash their cards at one another and cast disapproving glances in our direction. We eat and watch. Sandy is becoming more psychotic by the minute, looking over at the table behind us. Oriental bitch checks her nails, darts a glance at her, jealousy crackles in the room like electricity.
The starter arrives, an insalata, then pasta stuffed with lobster, and more wine. Then the fish, a huge cut of sea bass with vegetables. Behind Sandy aging fuck plays with himself as his escort bitch yawns. He is devoid of style, his mannerisms derivative and tired as the lines that walk across his face. I sometimes wonder what it is these whores escort in a man like him, his ego, his lies, walk them all the way to the bank and back. Lay down baby and show me the sliced peach.
It is here, that ignorance and decay that always accompany the hollow men of London, who work for status and nothing more, buying wives and talking their tired rhetoric. It is there in their gestures and pointless arguments, as they try to show how important they are, while in reality they are fading like Indian ink in the rain. They have no value, and no worth. They are as vacuous as a blow up doll. Perhaps that is what they are after, after all. Control knows only chains. They are blind to the rose garden. They deserve to be bombed. But not in the way you think. It will happen slowly, faded men in the room of echoes, words drip like fake coins from their dry tongues. This is a vision of borrowed decadence. Real decadence knows only glory, it is a revolutionary act, it is all pleasure. This is the rotten kind the refuge of the lost men who hate their wives. They hate them because their property has become devalued by time, we need men who do not carry chains to start the revolution. Flesh dance. Rise, my pleasure on the table cloth.
As I look into Sandy’s eyes I see a flower there, it is unknown, its petals are huge and the perfume from her parted lips is intoxicating. Know the high of summer time. Sandy talks but she does not know the words she is uttering. She does not know what her hidden charm is, or it real value.
I know why I am here, Sandy is a sexual priestess allowing only confessions of a physical nature while we are lost in the act of self-forgetting and renewal. This is my deep Erotic resurrection played out on lines and skins, not the table drum of our antique methods of pleasure but the new and vital dance of sin without morality, the utter freedom to want and want again the body of woman. Sandy is less corrupt than the pretenders of this blind alley of moral delusions. She is high on herself and slowly falling into cocaine’s clutches like a rag doll soaked in semen. She is the acumen of London’s lies. She pollutes the city with pleasures that are not allowed, not to the married men who haunt all doorways round here.
‘I don’t believe it,’ she says.
As I wait I see her stare at the table behind me again, she is clearly angry and her state of mind is deteriorating by the minute.
‘They don’t recognise me. That table over there.’
‘You mean the one full of pointless, endless money competition.’
‘Is because I am not wearing the makeup.’
We eat. She fiddles with her phone. She posts on Face Book. It reads, ‘Having dinner with the one who counts.’ It may be a manipulation. Her game. She always lies, it is her truth. I don’t care, I have a good time. I look at her as a waiter bristles past. More diners arrive and look around, checking out the competition.
I think of Sandy prone beneath me on her new sheets, the ones she bought just for me. They are covered with butterflies. I hear her moan. I fucked her for an hour before we went out, I made her come twice, and it felt good. She is beautiful, my type, I tell myself as I watch her sip her red wine, a deep red Barolo, that makes her lips look maroon. I want her to suck my cock right there and then. I want to offend the other diners. We are alone in the room, Sandy and me, just us and our mutual desire, lust raging in my loins. She is adept at sex, a seductress from her teens, a woman with an ability to arouse and allure. I see the reflection of the diners in her bright red nail varnish, and I wish that they were dripping with blood. She is my rock n roll chick. She talks about the makeup.
It is what she wears when she works, it is who she is seen as and who she believes she is defined as by the wankers who used her body like a sexual ashtray. She is mine for the hours we spend together, she is my beautiful whore with the deep green eyes and I am her lover. I touch her in the dark. She falls to the bed and groans. She sits astride me and rubs her cunt with my hard cock.
‘You’re dangerous,’ she says.
I know. There are many types of burglary, from the pickpocketing on the street to the deft unpicking of an erotic flower in the darkness of the bedroom.
At the flat we talk about it as Sandy chops lines on a table with her Barclays debit card. She used to model. She is becoming more insane. I think I will fuck her first.
We talk as she showers, she is standing behind the glass panel peering out at me as water sprays from her ample breasts. She is worried she is wetting me, but I don’t care.
‘Seet down,’ she says.
‘It’s OK,’ I say.
Seduction happens in the mind before the body is touched. There is no seduction in pornography. That is the difference. That is what I am offering her, she doesn’t believe it can be real since she is lost in fantasy. There is a line where she enters the real. It is where she loses herself, or the actress she displays every day while she snorts to forget.
As she rubs herself down with a towel I tell her the plan, we have been discussing it for weeks.
‘OK you leave the cash out for her to see, this is the hustle,’ I say.
‘My flat mate will take it, she is thief,’ Sandy says.
I like the way she says the word thief, and I let it linger in my head a while as I watch her tap her breasts dry, her pink nipples erect.
‘We make ten K easily out of this one, but follow me through on it.’
I tell her the plan, she listens, she always listens when there is money involved. I fuck her from behind, jamming it in her hard and releasing a gasp from her mouth.
It is daylight when the men enter the flat. They kick down the door and knock it off its hinges and Sandy screams. I tell her to be quiet. We wait, and I go out into the hall. Across from me in the living room the guys are picking up the money from the table just where I left it, but they stop, something is not right. I know their routine.
They’re Albanians, the larger guy overweight by a few pounds, the other younger, darker, mean. I reckon I can take them out with my fists, but I pull the Colt .45 from my back pocket and point it at their heads. They don’t have time to pull their weapons. I see the stained notes in their hands and I tell them to lay them down.
‘Do you always sleep in your jeans?’ the bigger guy says.
‘Only when I’m waiting on you, cocksucker,’ I say.
He is looking over my shoulder and I half-turn to see Sandy standing in her panties at the doorway to the bedroom, then I slam my pistol into his face. I bury the butt in his nose and hear cartilage snap. He is bleeding badly as I turn to the other guy, Mr Mean. I whip the gun across his mouth and see a tooth snap.
‘OK, OK,’ he says.
‘I bought it in America, you like it?’ I say.
They like my gun, I like it too, I want to shoot them both, these two leeches who rob escorts of their dough, but Sandy is not an escort any more, she has moved onto better things. London the land of criminal opportunity. This city of high buildings and time. Time to fuck one another over, over the coffee. Sandy was number one for years, sought after. I want to hurt these men. I hit them again, both of them hard, I slam the butt down, I smash it into their faces as Sandy watches from the door. The men are afraid. They ought to be. I kill guys like them, I rack a bullet into the chamber and I aim it at them. I think of all the killings I carried out when I was a young gun, hired by the kind of men Sandy screws. I see the bullets fly as the men cower, genuinely afraid now, knowing there is something past reason in me, they can see it in my eyes. It is a food chain, a word of ruined predation. Outsiders biding their time. Looking for the call. Quick bucks in the London rain. We exchange vices on street corners, we hustle. We fight. I enjoy the look of terror in these men’s faces the same way Sandy gets off on the look of pleasure in men she feels nothing for, reclaiming her past, crazy girl high on coke in an alien city seeking home. Back to Brazil baby. She acts for men who need a fuck. She never acts for me. Sandy doesn’t understand why. I do.
I look at the guys in her flat. They have been robbing girls in the area for a week or more and I have been watching them. I knew they were planning the raid, I left the money out. I placed the stained notes beneath the top ones, notes stained from a bank job, useless to anyone, just in case they got away. I figure Sandy’s flat mate is in on it, didn’t take the dough, just told them when to come. They would only have got a grand. Now I tell them to empty their pockets. They lay twenty-five K on table and I pat them down to make sure they are not concealing any cash. I show them to the door. The flat mate is nowhere to be seen, Sandy will take care of her, she is good with het nails, she is better with her tongue. I go into the bedroom. Sandy is getting naked, peeling those panties away.
‘Would you like me to fuck you with the well-oiled barrel of a loaded gun?’ I say.
‘Sure baby,’ Sandy says.
We get down to it, low down and dirty, then I pepper the ride with a little romance, steal her heart for a minute or more. It’s only ever on loan, like a library book. It is dark outside the empty window when we stop. I stare down at the yawning blackness of the gardens below, and I turn and see that Sandy needs more high tonight, it’s a pure pleasure ride she’s on, cresting the waves of excitement with thrill after thrill until she’s more used up than a blow up doll. I know what she needs. I always know what Sandy needs.
Afterwards, Carlos brings the coke round. I watch his tanned face and slightly dented head as he peers round the door, says nothing and walks surreptitiously into the kitchen. We all know why he is here, this fleeting visitor who dwells in hotel bars and lobbies, with bags of cash at his flat. Yet he still adopts a mysterious manner, perhaps to glamourise his seedy existence, perhaps because he is paranoid. Coke will do that to you, of course. He leaves and says goodbye. Sandy chops some lines.
There is mania in her eyes as she talks, checking and re-checking her phone with a compulsiveness that makes her look like a teen. But she is no teen, this Latina beauty with the faded memories of her childhood. She fears poverty now, locked in the cycle of drugs and money. She is Queen for the night as we step outside and go back to the restaurant.
The hustle has worked, we have the money we took off the robbers. They won’t return, if they do I will shoot them. Sandy looks beautiful, high on it all as she steps out of the taxi. Then we are inside again among the diners. Sandys asks for a table. The waiter says he will have to check.
‘Please speak to the manager,’ she says.
When he returns a few minutes later he is quizzical, and he looks around at the packed restaurant and the diners. I can see Sandy is getting angry.
‘Where is our table please?’ she says.
‘We are busy tonight,’ the waiter says.
‘What you are saying is there are no table. Is that what you are saying?’
‘How many of you are there?’
‘Two, you see two here.’
‘Let me have a look.’
‘There is a table over there.’
‘Yes I see it.’
‘Is it reserved or not?’
‘Then you have a table for us.’
‘Please follow me, and I will seat you both.’
He leads the way to a table in the corner. I have seen Sandy do this many times, push through the waiter bullshit.
‘It is not full,’ Sandy says as we sit down.
‘No it’s not, good for you, does he not want customers?’
‘They are idiots, it happens all the time.’
‘We eat some good pasta, I want pasta.’
She looks at me and does not register what I am saying. I do not ask her what happens all the time, as she is drifting in her cocaine psychosis.
‘I won’t have more,’ she says.
‘Cocaine but I have to.’
‘It’s part of the problem.’
‘I have to stop. I go to Brazilia, you come with me.’
‘I’d like to I really would.’
‘You know why, have some wine.’
‘OK pasta then and we go back to the flat.’
‘Maybe one glass with you and we go to buy water, sodium free.’
‘I get myself fixed, new Sandra, I get cellulite removed.’
She will drink wine and sniff later. She has no cellulite but this is all part of the fantasy of reformation, recreating herself the way she used to be when she was a model.
‘You’re the only woman in here with real eyebrows,’ I say.
‘Tattooed bitches, I know them and that woman pimp,’ Sandy says.
Behind her is a large woman in a pink hat which she removes and tosses casually onto the table as she ignores her fellow diner, a thin man in a pale suit. I look at Sandy. This is rejection city, a place where people come to watch. They are ignoring her and she doesn’t like it, Sandy needs attention and she knows how to get it. Sandy has a wealth of ways she gets it and gives it. Recognition is important to her, she needs them to see her there. I go to the john, she follows me, sending text messages on her phone as she waits outside, as if I am going to fuck a waitress while she stares at the bitches in the restaurant, as if I am hers that night, something to show off to her rivals in the food chain. Meat. That is what this is. Meat. Money. Men and women caught precariously in fashionable arguments. Massive doses of lies and a narcissism that is unseen by any of them. It all assumes the sense of a satirical pantomime to me now as I re-enter the restaurant. Sandy blows me a kiss as we sit down, that little upward turn of her head she uses to accompany the action. This is a fuck house. These diners are dumb fucks. No sense of satire. No sense at all in their empty heads. They echo one another and stare dumbly like insouciant cows.
‘What do you want to do?’ I say.
‘Ba-by, I want you fuck me at the flat,’ Sandy says.
I oblige. I always oblige Sandy. We leave the restaurant and the pricks and cunts eating there alone with their pretence and their designer goods. I watch her strip, peeling off her cream skirt and sliding down her panties, and I slide my forefinger inside her nicely wet peach, rubbing my thumb across the soft fuzz of her landing strip. I like it there, tired as I am of the shaved cunts of London. I consider it an apposite image, a statement of the bald facts. London is peopled, in certain quarters that I have frequented of late, with naked brashness.
‘Do it to me honey,’ Sandy says.
‘First I take that bra off, like so,’ I say, reaching behind her and unhooking it.
‘Where you want me? On the bed or right here?’
‘I could fuck you anywhere.’
‘We take shower together.’
‘You want me to lie down.’
‘I get on top to start with.’
‘Let me take off those pants.’
‘I want to come.’
‘Of course you do.’
‘It will be good.’
‘I know it will.’
‘It always is with you when you fuck me.’
Sandy lies so much, she is a hustler through and through but she cannot hustle me in her bedroom. I know how to give her pleasure.
What that pleasure is and where it lies is deep inside Sandy’s mind, beautiful, erotic, deceptive and unhinged by coke. She does some lines, she looks at me. There beneath the glaze is a pinpoint stare of lust. I enter her again on her new sheets and she gives it all, arching her back as she comes. She speaks in a Latina accent, she dances as she makes love, getting on top of me and playing with my cock with an affection that is uncharacteristic of her. She is a woman with desires that most men do not see or even understand. Yet I do and it is not because of whoring but the understanding of the reasons she does what she does, and does it so well. It is in the mirror of the act, the deed of reflecting and giving back what she needs to believe of herself. I give her an identity. That is what she needs beneath the pleasure. I am like sexual liquid. Sandy knows and feels. I tend to her desires, each and every one of them. I give her deep orgasms. Afterwards we talk and we fuck deep into the erotic night and I watch her become the woman she wants to be, and who I unlock from her habit. I show Sandy herself in sex and pleasure. I touch her with real hands in the hungry night, softly, with real desire. I treat her with respect. That is why she is into me. I seduce her with my lines. It’s all in the way you make a woman feel.
When she looks at me it is with appreciation and beneath all the hustle I see it there, she can’t hustle all the time. Even though she is good at it. Deep down there is nothing there, she is all addiction and greed, her head turned by her belief that she can have it all. Even if she wanted the truth she could not hold onto it, fragile Sandy.
‘Hey baby, is good, we fuck so well,’ Sandy says.
‘I know what you like and your pleasures,’ I say and watch as she takes a shower.
Whatever intimacy we share is brief, the shared actions of a man and woman tethered by sex and beyond the norm of a relationship. She washes her cunt and talks.
‘We go and eat we can fuck,’ Sandra says.
‘What do you want to eat, pasta?’ I say.
‘No pasta. I know where we go, Italian.’
‘Come in and wash with me baby.’
‘You want to wash my cock?’
‘I wash it with my mouth.’
‘I think you already have.’
‘With you I come.’
‘Aye, so sexy, so delicious.’
‘I want you on the bed, legs parted.’
‘We eat first baby.’
It is evident she is as she dresses and I stand there and watch. We often eat at a local restaurant where couples gaze at us as we chew on the delicacies they serve. It is evident she is ravenous as she hurries with her clothes, and asks me to zip her up. It is a light blue dress and she shimmers in it, a body of desire. Whatever she feels for me Sandy can’t help but hustle. It is in her character to do it with everyone. I can out hustle her, of course. It may mean nothing at all, she is an actress. But I am an actor in her drama and I am writing the script. I have another drama she is not part of. While she sniffs secret lines in her cupboard I leave the flat. At the doorway we exchange the lines.
‘We eat then we come back to the flat and watch movies,’ Sandy says, sniffing coke.
‘We’re always watching movies, it’s all we do,’ I say, and I head outside.
That advice the Moldovan hooker gave me applies to Sandy here. What she said was, ‘If you want fun and pleasure, the woman shouldn’t bring you stress it should be easy.’ It is too much hassle back there with Sandy and her coke psychosis. I always used to find an easy lay after carrying out a hit, back in the old days. It is like the food chain at the restaurant, counterpoints of desire and release. As I head home my phone starts to ring. It’s Sandy calling, sending me text after text, angry at first, then begging me to go back to her flat and sleep with her, saying she doesn’t want to work any more, she likes me so much she doesn’t want to work nights. City of many pleasures, you are off the moral map. These men and women are all outsiders. There are no day jobs in this part of London, just different hustles craving respectability, hardened by habit and all the objects of desire tattooed with beauty. Degraded beauty, you cannot call my name in the fading night, nor enjoy one hour of equal time even if you lie to me. This is the London of decadent pleasures, the soiled merciless city beneath the tourist spots. The girls come from foreign lands with dreams and hopes in their hearts. They get used, eaten. Develop habits. Tell themselves they will go home and straighten out, take on more work to do so and get deeper into the coke. Trapped. Zoo life. There are no moral men left any more, just the bankers and the show girls giving pleasure.